A-Force #5

A-Force #5

A superhero team book rises or falls for me on the mix of personalities (not powers), and I really like the blend put together here. The characters are well-known, but not big or central enough to handcuff the creators. (Plus, A-Force came out of an alternate universe crossover, so who cares about continuity?)

She-Hulk, always a favorite, and Medusa, queen with the magic hair, battle it out for leadership. Captain Marvel is the muscle, Dazzler (of all people!) is the jaded one who’s capable of handling the dirty work, and Nico is both the adolescent and the magic-user. Then there’s Singularity, described as “the sweetest sentient pocket universe you’ll ever meet.”

She’s my favorite, in the classic role of the innocent alien, the lifeform that’s new to our world and our culture. She provides a plot driver, someone to protect from the various mysterious forces after her, as well as comedy relief and a touch of heartwarming charm. It’s a classic joke form, but it still makes me laugh seeing her get excited at trying pie for the first time. And it’s adorable when She-Hulk gives her a piggyback ride after she’s tired out, reinforcing her relative youth.

A-Force #5

The plot here has the team fighting a dragon. There’s some “story so far” background about how refusing to give up or destroy Singularity means that “tears in reality… could allow even more dangerous creatures to come through from other worlds.” Sounds like author’s fiat to me, an infinite source of whatever-can-be-dreamed-of to fight. Good idea for a loose structure.

Kelly Thompson is writing these women as distinct personalities, which is fun. Even more fun is the mashup guest who wandered in from the past Battleworld crossover: Dazzler Thor. Really, who better to fight a dragon but a shiny princess with a magic hammer? Beyond the appeal of the crazy character mix, though, her presence provides an opportunity to find out more about why Dazzler Prime is so morose and difficult.

Ben Caldwell has some innovative layouts, but he also does an excellent job with the many high-panel-count conversation pages, as well as the action. This exposition panel really struck me, playing into fandom and symbolism.

A-Force #5 panel by Ben Caldwell

Plus, the women, in order to find out more about each other, go for food and drinks. Again, a well-used comic team idea, but one that works and reinforces their approachability. The letters page sums up the aim for this title as being about “ladies, and punching, and jokes”, which isn’t a bad goal for a superhero comic.


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